“From Expeditionary To Enduring”: The US Forces in Djibouti

12/17/2014

2014-12-11 By Murielle Delaporte

During her visit to Djibouti, M. Delaporte was able to talk with with Public Affairs Officers Lieutenant-Colonel Jeffrey Jones (USAF, CJTF-HOA) and Lieutenant Seamus Nelson (US Navy, Djibouti), on November 12th, 2014  at Camp Lemonnier .

They provided a very clear look at the transformation of the base used by the American forces in Djibouti.

We are starting the transition between an expeditionary base to an enduring base “, explains Lieutenant Nelson as he and Lieutenant-Colonel Jones drive through Camp Lemonnier, the former French Foreign Legion camp in Djibouti where the US Navy now hosts the Combined Joint Task Force –Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

A view of Camp Lemmonier. Credit:
A view of Camp Lemonnier. Credit: Camp Lemonnier

It all started in the aftermath of 9/11 with the establishment of the CJTF-HOA at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in October 2002 :

In November 2002, [CJTF-HOA] service members embarked on a 28-day training cruise aboard USS Mount Whitney, and arrived in the Horn of Africa December 8th, 2002.

CJTF-HOA operated from the Mount Whitney until May 13th, 2003, when the mission transitioned ashore to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, as one of several tenants.

The CJTF-HOA mission has evolved from an initial focus on using civil-military operations as the cornerstone of countering violent extremism to the current focus on strengthening partner military capacity and building strategic partnerships with African militaries,” reads the official presentation [link] of the Djibouti-based Task Force.[ref] See Fact Sheet, PDF[/ref]

Growing Responsibilities

As the mission evolved and as the threats in the direct proximity of the base have grown – ranging from the Shebabs in “Somaliland” located at less than 15 miles and visible from Camp Lemonnier to political unrest threatening the lives of US citizens such as was the case in South Sudan a year ago leading to the implementation of a crisis response initiated from Djibouti -, the force itself keeps growing.[ref] See :

http://breakingdefense.com/2014/02/lessons-from-marines-special-africa-force-juba-the-anti-bengahzi/

https://sldinfo.com/special-purpose-magtf-cr-the-juba-operation/[/ref]

The force started from a small group of about 30 people, then grew until recently to 2400 military personnel reaching today 5000 men and woman.

As the CJTF-HOA transitioned onto land from a ship off the coast, the Marines started out with about 50 to 60 acres to live on. Nowadays the force includes US Navy and Marines components, but also Army, Air Force and even one Coast Guard personnel is part of the leadership team of the Coastal Riverine Station CRS-1 (which is run by a Navy Commander),”recalls Lieutenant Nelson.

Born out of the USS Cole experience, CRS 1 is in charge of ensuring port security for US ships entering Djibouti.[ref] The attack on the USS Cole happened in October 2000 while the destroyer was refueling in the harbor of Aden and caused the death of 17 sailors and injured 39 servicemen (see: http://www.911memorial.org/uss-cole-bombing).

The French military health service stationed in Djibouti played a crucial role in transporting patients in critical condition to the French military Boussard Hospital where they were stabilized. Today, there is, in this area as well, an ongoing cooperation and capability sharing among the various international forces stationed in Djibouti.[/ref]

slide-2

This is an area in which US and French cooperation is growing (in this case with the French Navy and “Fusiliers marins,” while both forces train the Djiboutian Coast Guard on a regular basis [ref]See: http://www.operationnels.com/2014/11/16/special-djibouti-la-marine-nationale-soutient-les-forces-navales-a-djibouti/ and the upcoming Special issue on the French forces in Djibouti to be published in the March issue of the quarterly “Opérationnels SLDS.”[/ref]

The missions of the Task Force and the Camp Command as a whole are however multifold, held under the overall Command of AFRICOM, but also in connection with other US players (State Department; USAID : etc), as well as  NATO and the United Nations, and dealing with a wide range of countries sorted out by “Areas of responsibility” and “Areas of Interest”

The US forces stationed in Djibouti mostly work with their African counterparts, but they entertain a very good working relationship with other foreign forces present nearby, such as the French forces which are now second in rank in terms of staff since the re-deployment in 2011 of the 13th DBLE (Foreign Legion armored division) to the United Arab emirates.[ref]See: http://www.defense.gouv.fr/terre/actu-terre/la-13e-dble-quitte-djibouti[/ref]

Other forces, with which liaison officers, briefs and MWR (Moral, Welfare and Recreational) events such as sport games (in particular volley ball tournaments and soccer games) are shared on a regular basis, include as well the Italians and the Japanese.

CJTF-HOA_Building_the_Team

The CJTF-HOA supporting units currently based in Camp Lemonnier are as follows:

First, the 449th Air Expeditionary Group which is in charge in particular of personnel recovery and CSAR missions, as well as personnel air drop, and logistical transport.

The unit is currently equipped with one HC-130 “King”, one C-130 J “Super Hercules ”and HH-60 “Pave Hawks,” but the numbers and type of equipment changes over time and circumstance.

And there is a new combat aircraft loading area is under construction since June in order to accommodate permanently-based aircrafts as well the ones transiting through the camp;

Second, there are Civil Affairs Teams.

Third, there is an East African Response Force which focuses “on force protection and mil-to-mil engagements with partner nations.”

Fact-sheet

 Growing Challenges

Growing missions and responsibilities leads to growing staff and growing management challenges, the first one being how to lodge and support more and more people – the above-mentioned 5000 military personnel, but also the contractors which include about 1000 Djiboutians – on a limited space in the harsh environment characterizing this part of the world and in quasi-autarkic conditions characterizing the American approach to forward basing.

Because of historical and cultural differences, the French presence in Djibouti is split in various locations embedded within the city itself whereas Camp Lemonnier is located by the airfield.

The airfield is shared with the Djiboutians and the French as well.

And the Red Sea basing area has grown in a similar way to KAIA (Kabul International Airport).

First, there is a constant struggle for usable space.

Little by little, 10-people tents are being replaced by CLUs or “Container Living Units.”

We call our living quarters  “Cluville”; in Afghanistan, they called these units CHUs for “Container Housing Units”.

Since we just renewed our lease with the Djiboutians for 10 years with two additional 10 year lease possible, we have to think of infrastructure for up to 30 years on a space now set for 608 acres.

That is why we have to think up rather than wider.

Hence the stacking of CLUs to 2 or 3 levels”, explains Lieutenant Nelson.

Then there is the struggle with heat.

Energy saving has been a constant concern while building Cluville since June 2014, because Djibouti sustains very high temperatures part of the year and extremely high temperatures the rest of the year.

Air conditioning accounts for 70% of Camp Lemonnier’s energy consumption and drastic measures have been taken to cut it down.

Stacking units are being tested in order to save both space and energy: their second level has insulation above and below and they tend to be built in the shadow whenever possible.

Old AC units are being replaced with more efficient ones.

All power plants units are also being tied together in one single grid.

They are consolidated and old units are also replaced with new ones which life span is 10% longer, hence reducing maintenance and replacement costs.

All these various efforts have led just in the course of one year to an overall energy consumption reduction and savings amounting to 20% “, stresses Lieutenant Nelson.

Then there is the constant struggle to deal with dust and its impacts on men and materiel.

Nature is rough in Djibouti and a very fine dust – worse than in Afghanistan or Western Africa according to soldiers able to compare thanks to their past deployments – infiltrates everywhere.

Dust is the reason the potential of solar panels as a way to reduce energy costs is reduced.

Dust – and what it becomes of it when heavy rains happen – are the reason hangars and roads are being built.

Trucks try to keep it down by constantly watering down the dirt roads still predominant on the base. And the water for this task comes from reclaimed water from the waste water treatment plant, which highlights the focus of the base on base efficiencies wherever possible.

There is an ongoing challenge as well to provide for effective support and security for the forces operating from the base.

Most of this construction work is being outsourced either locally or to contracting companies such as KBR and B.L. Harbert International, which often hires third country nationals such as Filipinos.[ref] See in particular: http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=36680:us-navy-contracts-two-companies-to-expand-renovate-camp-lemonnier&catid=47:Logistics&Itemid=110[/ref]

KBR’s tasks involve construction, repair and renovation in various areas such as a wastewater treatment system and an incinerator.

The base is indeed completely self-reliant producing its own water from wells, its own energy through fuel generators, but trying to minimize its footprint as best as possible by taking care of its own trash for instance.

KBR is also in charge of the fire department and firefighter training on the base.

Improving daily living conditions for the US military personnel often deployed for 11 months in a row without their families is the bedrock to ensure that the tactical military challenges are met with success in an increasingly difficult environment.

In comparison, French military personnel are deployed either on a short term basis – usually 4 month periods – without their families, or a long-term basis of 3 years with their families: because of French traditional presence in this part of the world, Djibouti’s conditions of leaving and deployment for the French military are rather unique.

The difficulty of the missions such as mil-to-mil training in Africa cannot be underestimated and requires a long-lasting commitment, but results are there and evidenced by the decline of piracy in the Gulf of Aden in the recent years.[ref]As seen in another part of the African continent, i.e. Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram (see: Les Etats-Unis face à Boko Haram : les limites de la formation militaire dans la lutte anti-terroriste, a version of which was published in TTU, December 3rd, 2014, page 2)[/ref]

Editor’s Note: Recent articles by the same author related to this article are as follows:

https://sldinfo.com/celebrating-veterans-day-2014-in-djibouti/

https://www.mca-marines.org/leatherneck/2014/04/filling-gap

http://breakingdefense.com/2014/02/lessons-from-marines-special-africa-force-juba-the-anti-bengahzi/

https://sldinfo.com/special-purpose-magtf-cr-the-juba-operation/

Obama : le double-bail de Djibouti, TTU, May 19th, 2014

Les Etats-Unis face à Boko Haram : les limites de la formation militaire dans la lutte anti-terroriste, TTU, December 3rd, 2014

CJTF-HOA : de l’USS Mount Whitney à « Cluville», TTU, November 26th, 2014

Editor’s Note: The slideshow above shows  U.S. Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), fire a 240B medium machine gun from the turret of a Humvee during a live-fire static crew-served weapons range as part of sustainment training at D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 5.

The 11th MEU is deployed as a theater reserve and crisis response force throughout U.S. Central Command and the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Credit:11th MEU:11/7/14

  • In the second photo, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Dylan S. Large with Charlie Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance detachment, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), aims a French FAMAS assault rifle alongside French armed forces from the 1st Spahis Regiment during sustainment training in D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 5.
  • In the third photo, the Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) heavy team comprised of Lt. Shannon A. Meyer, left, an emergency nurse and native of Seaford, N.Y., and Lt. Cmdr. Anthony M. Bielawski, second left, an emergency medicine physician and native of Bay City, Michigan, both with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
  • In the fourth photo, Lt. Shannon A. Meyer, an emergency nurse and native of Seaford, New York, with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), speaks with an MV-22B Osprey crew chief from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron, 11th MEU, during a response drill as part of Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) sustainment training at D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 5.
  • In the fifth photo, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Robert J. Scarpello, left, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and native of Sellersville, Pa., gives a period of instruction on the compact metal detector during a counter-improvised explosive device exercise as part of sustainment training at D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 6.
  • In the sixth and seventh photos, a UH-1Y Super Huey with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced), 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), takes off after delivering supplies to Marines conducting sustainment training at D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 7.
  • In the final photo, U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. David S. Chandler, a light armored vehicle crewman with Charlie Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance detachment, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and native of Dublin, California, leaves a forward operating base during a security patrol as part of sustainment training in D’Arta Plage, Djibouti, Nov. 6.

The video above shows Soldiers from 1st Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment clear a compound from insurgent forces during a base defense exercise on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti on July 10, 2014.

Credit: Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa Combat Camera, 7/10/14

For a look at the general strategic situation and role of Djibouti see the following Chatham house paper:

Chatham House Paper on Djibouti

 

 

 

 

Moog Press Releases

05/25/2012

Focus Industry Eurosatory

 

Moog Develops Non-Lethal Grenade Launcher for Rapid Deployment

 

East Aurora, NY, USA, June 11, 2012 – Moog Inc. (NYSE: MOG.A and MOG.B), is debuting and demonstrating its new EAGLS (Electrically Articulated Grenade Launcher System) non-lethal grenade launcher at Eurosatory 2012. This unit has been developed to support the military’s need for rapidly deployable, escalation of force, mission ready equipment. The applique system gives troops the ability to accurately target and disperse a crowd without using lethal force.

“Our goal with this new launcher is to provide a self-contained, fully articulated system which can be added to any combat or tactical vehicle to increase mission capability through obscuration or threat deterrence,” said Tony Peck, Moog’s business unit director for Defense Controls. “The system will provide our customers an easy to install, inexpensive asset that increases the survivability of both the vehicle and troops in a variety of engagement scenarios.”

EAGLS is designed to accommodate the 66mm family of non-lethal grenades, including both smoke and anti-riot. The system is comprised of an electromechanically controlled, dual-axis positioner supporting two grenade discharge racks and a wide angle day sight camera. Each discharge rack has the capacity for six grenades and allows troops to individually position and deploy grenades up to 100m. The launcher is continuously adjustable in azimuth and discretely adjustable in elevation for range select. It also features an optional surveillance suite for 360o situational awareness and active stabilization for low bandwidth, shoot on the move capability.

At Eurosatory (Hall 5, stand B270) Moog will display the EAGLS demonstrator on top of a 6 degree of freedom motion platform to show both the functional capabilities of the grenade launcher, and the testing capabilities of the Moog motion base. The units can be demonstrated independently or together to highlight Moog’s unique precision motion control technologies for defense applications.

————————————

Moog Introduces New Defense Systems at Eurosatory

East Aurora, NY, USA, April 25, 2012 – At Eurosatory 2012, which will be held in Paris from 11-15 June, Moog will be introducing two new systems as well as showcasing its complete range of motion control and electronic products and solutions specifically designed for the defense market.

Visitors to Moog stand number B270 (Hall 5) will be able to take part in a number of dynamic demonstrations that highlight Moog’s ability to deliver world-class high performance solutions. Eurosatory will see the introduction of two new systems: The Electrically Articulated Grenade Launcher System (EAGLS) and the Moog Turret Test System, both of which will be shown for the first time.

The Electrically Articulated Grenade Launcher System (EAGLS) is designed to accommodate the 66mm family of non-lethal grenades, including both smoke and anti-riot. It is an electromechanically controlled, dual-axis drive mechanism for positioning two grenade discharge racks at four discrete elevation angles, corresponding to desired firing ranges. Each discharge rack contains six grenades and allows the operator to individually deploy a combination of smoke and/or non-lethal blunt trauma and distraction grenades at distances up to 100 meters.

The Moog Turret Test System is based on a high performance 6 Degrees of Freedom (DOF) electric motion system with powerful test software to simulate test tracks and test performance of the turret stabilizer. On the top platform of the Turret Tester, the user can install an actual turret or a remote weapon station. It can handle a wide range of payloads up to 24,000 kg (53,000 lb) and meet specific requirements related to particular excursions, velocities or accelerations. The Moog Replication software module has been developed to accurately simulate vehicle movements as recorded on the test track.

Other Moog products and innovations on show will include:
— Moog Simulation solutions for driver trainers.
— Mission Critical Components: Slip Rings for Power and Data Transfer such as vehicular Slip Rings for reliable signal and power coupling in the most rugged battlefield conditions. Fiber Optic Rotary Joints for High Speed Data Management; High Performance Motors for Motion Control; – Resolver and Synchros for Motion Sensors; Rotary and Linear Actuators for Actuation Solutions; Fiber Optic Multiplexers, Modems for Communications and Integrated Motion Assemblies for Secure High Speed Data Transmission and Storage Technologies.
–Quickset Pan & Tilt (QPT™) systems Designed and built to endure the harshest mobile or stationary environments.

With many years of defense industry experience, Moog has worked on many projects enabling more accurate turret controls, faster ammunition handling, user friendly interfaces, more efficient power management, critical infrastructure security, functional test research, simulation systems to train drivers, and advanced inertial sensor technology.

Pim van den Dijssel, European Business manager at Moog says: “From requirements definition, to system and component design, integration, production, test, simulation, training, deployment and support, Moog is the motion control partner to engineer with our customers the solutions required to identify new and better ways of performing.”

 

__________________

***About Moog: Moog Inc. is a worldwide designer, manufacturer, and integrator of precision control components and systems. Moog’s high-performance systems control military and commercial aircraft, satellites and space vehicles, launch vehicles, missiles, automated industrial machinery, wind turbines, marine and medical equipment. Additional information about the company can be found at www.moog.com.

 

#####

For more information, please contact:

Moog

Marie-Laure Gelin

Tel: +31 (0)252 462 034

Fax: +31 (0)252 462 001

E-mail: mlgelin@moog.com

 

EMG

Anouk Luykx

Tel: +31 (0)164 317 017

Fax: +31 (0)164 317 039

E-Mail: aluykx@emg-pr.com


This press release and relevant photography can be downloaded from www.PressReleaseFinder.com.

Alternatively for very high resolution pictures please contact Anouk Luykx (aluykx@emg-pr.com, +31 164 317 017)

Also, see the MOOG role in the F-35 program:

https://www.sldinfo.com/moog-as-key-f-35-systems-supplier/

DSI’s Defense Logistics and Materiel Readiness Summit

05/15/2012

 

DSI’s Defense Logistics and Materiel Readiness Summit

Tuesday May 22-Wednesday May 23

Mary M. Gates Learning Center

701 N. Fairfax St. Alexandria, VA

http://www.marygateslearningcenter.com

 

 

As the DoD continues to operate at an extraordinarily high tempo around the world, the necessity for materiel readiness and reliable logistics support is absolutely critical to maintaining the effectiveness and safety of our Armed Forces.  DSI’s Defense Logistics and Readiness Summit will bring together thought leaders, policy makers, military service members, and solution providers to discuss and determine the way forward for the logistics community.

Subject matter experts will include:

*VADM Keith Lippert, USN (Ret), Chief Strategy Officer, Accenture Defense and Public Safety
*Sue Dryden, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Material Readiness
*John Johns, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Maintenance Policy and Programs
*Gary Motsek, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Program Support
*MajGen Charles Hudson, USMC, CG, Marine Corps Logistics Command
*Dr. Steven Butler, Executive Director, Air Force Materiel Command
*RADM Kathleen Dussault, USN, Director, Logistics Programs and Corporate Operations Division, N4
*William Moore, SES, Deputy to the Commanding General, US Army CASCOM

 

The Summit will benefit the 501c3 non-profit Wounded Warrior Project.
Open to the public, but seating is limited.

 

—–

For More information contact: Ron Gilpin at Rgilpin@dsigroup.org. (646) 257-3782

Summit Website: http://logisticsandreadiness.dsigroup.org/

Faces of Courage

02/20/2012

From Afghanistan to Libya to Bold Alligator 2012 to … ?
French Forces on Deployment

By Murielle Delaporte and Robbin Laird

February 20, 2012 – Defense debates rarely picture the folks who get into harm’s way to execute strategies and whose actions determine mission success or failure.  The last decade of Afghan engagement and African operations – the latest one being Lybia – have seen young French soldiers put themselves in harm’s way, at times while working with US forces: these folks are too often the unsung heroes, the folks who make it happen. During the ground engagement with the French forces in Bold Alligator 2012, several of these young people were interviewed and their experiences discussed from overseas theaters of operation to being off American shores.  The core capital ship deployed for Bold Alligator – the Mistral – has been on continuous deployment for ten months through Libya to operating off of the Virginia Coast.  From the shores of Tripoli to operating off the Atlantic Coast of America, the French forces provided a major contribution towards  the shaping of a new approach to working with sea bases and maneuver warfare from the sea.

But it is not just about ships, or platforms, or joint planning or joint training.  It is about people.  The battle-hardened decade of Marines were able to continue their work with the French Marine Infantry forces and Foreign Legionnaires, who have their own decades of battle-hardened forces as well.  In this slide show, we provide some of those faces, which reflect these years of joint combat and the strategic and tactical contributions which allies make to American security.

These faces of courage tell the story …

 

[slidepress gallery=’faces-of-courage’]

« This kind of operation goes well beyond a simple disembarking : it is a large-scope military action from the sea to the land and it requires a multitude of technical know-how one has to coordinate in an optimal manner. »

(Capitaine de vaisseau Emmanuel Gué, Captain of the French Amphibious Task Group, on board the Mistral, January 26th, 2012)

Credit photos: SLD, Virginia and North Carolina, January and February 2012 (click on top of pictures for detailed captions)

 

Photos [0 / homepage] 1 to 7 and 35:  Ground Tactical Group

On February 6th, D-day of Bold Alligator 2012, 300 men of the 6th BLB (6e brigade légère blindée or Light armored brigade)  and some 80 vehicles were brought from sea to shore in a matter of six hours via about twenty sea and six air rotations in accordance with the initial scenario planned on a multilateral level during the previous months (compared to 400 men and 90 vehicles during rehearsal the week before).  Five regiments compose the Brigade known as the “Daguet Division” since the first Gulf war :

–  The  21st Marine Infantry Regiment:  21e régiment d’infanterie de marine (21e RIMa) from Fréjus
– The 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment: 2e régiment étranger d’infanterie (2e REI) from Nîmes
– The 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment: 1er régiment étranger de cavalerie (1er REC)  fromOrange (photos 2 and 3)
– The 3rd Marine Artillery Regiment: 3e régiment d’artillerie de marine  (3e RAMa) from Canjuers
– The 1st Foreign Engineer Regiment:  1er régiment étranger de génie  (1er REG) from Nîmes

The 6th BLB has been deployed on various fronts – from Bosnia, Kosovo, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan, Lebanon, the Central African Republic,  the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the Republic of Chad -, but for many of these young soldiers, BA12 is their first amphibious experience of this scale and the first time they got to live on a French Navy ship for such a long period of time (the Mistral left Toulon on January 5th): a common feeling shared with their fellow Marines (see photo 2 taken on board the French landing craft EDAR during the rehearsal and coordination phase the week preceding D-Day).  The last French amphibious operation happened off the coast of Lebanon in 2006 to evacuate French citizens. Part of the 1st Foreign Engineer Regiment, crews of the TRM10000 CLD and EGAME  – Engin du Génie d’AMEnagement du terrain –  are the first to beach after the infiltration forces and the last to leave the shore (just before the latter)  making sure all vehicles are safely landing and going back to the ship once the mission is achieved (photos 5 and 6).

 

Photos 8 to 13:  LHA and Army Aviation

Helicopters were extensively used during BA12 as a complement to sea rotations and potential substitute in case of inclement weather. Amphibious operations are extremely difficult to plan as so many factors – such a the weather and sea conditions – have to be taken into consideration: several backup plans are more than ever required in such a context. On the Mistral flightdeck, specialized teams operate to get the helos ready to go each time they take off and land : a draining task when the operational tempo picks up as was the case off the coast of Lybia. They are recognizable by the color of their outfit and include:

– yellow for the “yellow dogs” – MOPONVOL  (for “matelots de piste et de pont d’envol” in French ) in charge of maneuvers. Maître Principal Jean-Michel Merer (photo eight) prepares the deck configuration for planned flights: “there are 18 possibilities, while helicopters can also be stored on deck if need be. It was the case during the Lybian operation with non stop night rotations.” In fact the 3rd RHC (3ème Régiment d’Hélicoptères de Combat or Combat helicopter regiment), part of the Army aviation (ALAT for Aviation Légère de l’Armée de Terre “), present during BA12 is specialized in night combat. The very first waves of “D-day” on the French side occured at night.

– white: they are the personnel handling the transfer of equipment and helicopter by elevators linking the flightdeck to the hangars ;

– red: they are the personnel in charge of refueling (two are Navy personnel and four belong to the SEA (“Service des essences des armées” or Military Fuel Service) ;

– brown: they are the technical teams preparing the helicopters (photo 10) ;

– silver: they are the Safety fire teams (photo 9).

During Bold Alligator, the Pumas were used as logistic assets including for an artillery raid exercice (RAID AR) conducted the day after “D-Day” as part of continued bilateral training with the American forces : two Pumas carried two 120mm mortar on site for the Marine artillery troops to unload in specific delays and operate (photo 12).

 

Photos 14 to 22: Artillery Raid

This artillery raid exercise involved the 3rd RAMA and was conducted on February 7th, 2012 in the context of  bilateral training with the Americans nearby (photo 14). The 300 kilos mortar is already a logistic challenge on its own and can be delivered fully mounted as underslung loads or in several pieces inside a helicopter : this was the method selected for this exercice, two mortars being carried by two pumas in three major 100 kilos pieces. The goal is to assemble the whole mortar in less than five minutesand have it ready to shoot. But this is not the only challenge to overcome: as Adjudant Roux who was recently deployed in Afghanistan, explains (photo 20), “in addition to the position of the enemy, one has to include in one’s calculation weather factors – such as air density, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, humidity, temperature -, but also the local environment in terms of the  relief (the mortar was more useful in the Afghan mountains than other artillery pieces the French use) and the culture: indeed, a major problem in Afghanistan besides collateral damage regarding population, has been the respect of crops. The rules of engagement can also differ among coalition partners, the French preferring to first use lightning mortar ammunition before shooting.” In the case of an exercice on the US soil, another logistic challenge had to do with legal safety issues, whether transporting and stocking French ammunition from the BPC to the US territory or regarding  individual safety protection required by US laws for such shooting to occur on US bases.

 

Photos 23 and 34: Joint Training

Many other joint exercices have taken place in the course of the days following the actual amphibious operation. Practicing with the ERYX missile was one of them : the missile is handled by two soldiers whose carrying weight can then amount to 100 to 115 kilos. This missile is used in Afghanistan, but the French also use the American Javelin, which is a fire and forget missile.

 

Photos 24 and 25: C2

Command and control are key in any operation, but especially in this kind of training exercice, as three factors tend to complicate matters :

1. In a French amphibious operation, given the fact that both the Navy and the Army are involved, a Transfer of Authority (TOA) must take place when the ground forces are not subordinated to the Navy Command authority anymore and when in this case the Mistral supports the ground forces in a sea-basing function : the TOA took place on February 6th at 23:00 ;

2. Contrary to a franco-French operation, in Bold Alligator, the French troops passed under US Command authorities : one of the main objective of BA12 is to develop the best channel of communications possible for current and future joint operations ;

3. BA12 relied as well on simulation assets being injected in real life forces : the difficulty is to have the proper interface to conduct such a mission within a coalition.

 

Photos 26 and 27: SAED

Before any land insertion, ground elements must come ashore ahead of time for reconnaissance purpose. This is the role of the SAED for “Section d’aide à l’engagement débarqué” (here part of the 21st RIMA) or deployed engagement support platoon, whose aptitudes are usually taylored to the type of missions being expected. In the case of Bold Alligator, amphibious, under water mine detection and urban warfare capabilities were required to fit with a scenario involving on D-day insurgents attacks in a urban environment, including hostages taking.

 

Photos 28 and 29: GRP / SNP

The Beach Reconnaissance Group (GRP for “Groupe de reconnaissance de plage“) and Beach Naval Platoons (SNP for “Section navale de plage“) are the beachmasters: they come on land a few days before any amphibious operation to assess the area, especially the nature of the sand, the gradient of the beach and so on. On D-day, they come right after the Commandos and prepare the landing area. On February 6th, they had to slightly move the beaching areas for some of the landing crafts because  of high tides and rough waters. One of the CTMs in particular was caught  by sand bars, typical challenge of this part of the world, requiring the SNP to go back in the 7 degree celsius water to guide the towing process by another CTM. An amphibious operation is in many ways a race against the clock,  and in this case the window to secure the landing craft was 45 minutes because of the tide. But it can be a truck stuck in the sand, a tank stuck in the water and the whole synchronization of the operation can be called into question, hence the need for quick decision-making on which plan B to activate… or not…

 

Photos 30 to 32: Navigators and Load Masters

In an amphibious operation, one of the keys to success is to reduce the transit time on water as well as the time necessary to load and unload people and equipment : these are all periods of high vulnerability for the troops, hence the major role of all those involved in such tasks. The navigator of the CTM was photographed after an especially rough early morning,  going back to the Mistral to participate once more to the twenty something rotations which were necessary to achieve the goals set for D-Day (photo 29). The  navigator of the EDAR had a specific challenge during BA12, as it was the first time the latter was used outside the French waters: the challenges included specific conditions of the Eastern shore (undercurrent), as well as maneuvering it forward and backward into various  ships’ well decks , in this case the BPC and the USS San Antonio (photo 30). The BPC load master (photo 31) is in charge of organizing all the maneuvers to make sure  that the proper order of landing is respected and that the load is balanced out on the various crafts: in the case of the EDAR, it was a new adventure as well, as it was its first deployment and all had to be mastered in a rather short period of time. Trying new equipment in operation is actually a French common practice, which may look risky, but  allows rapid feedback and improvements if need be. In the case of Bold Alligator 2012 and the new French L-CAT, it looks like the bet paid off, since the goals set up were achieved with the normal hurdles intrinsec to this kind of complex operations…

 

Photo 33: Medical support

Last but not least, medical teams on the ground and on the ship are there to provide real medical assistance during the exercise, and/or play medevac scenarios if so desired by the planners.  As was explained by the two soldiers photographed (photo 330, “the French and American approach to forward medical support differ, as the Marines will tend to stabilize a wounded patient in order to evacuate him as fast as possible to a hospital (the “Golden minute” approach), whereby the French team will try to give the maximum care directly on site : this means that the latter always includes a medical doctor or a certified nurse allowed to perform certain acts.

Biography: Major General (2s) Alain Faupin

01/09/2012

Major General (2s) Alain Faupin

Born in Reims, France, (DOB Dec 4 1939) MG Faupin has completed a 40 year-military career in many operational, headquarters, staffs,  education, and foreign  service positions. A graduate of St Cyr Military Academy he held  several assignments with cavalry and light armor with the French Foreign Legion in the Sahara, Algeria, and Southern France, during the sixties as well as different command and staff positions in Germany during the seventies and eighties. He has three PSCs (French, American and Canadian)

Successively assistant military attaché in Washington (1982-1985), Head of the French Army General Staff Intelligence and International Relations Directorate (1987-91), military attaché in Washington and Head of the French Delegation to the United Nations Military Staff Committee (1991-1994), Deputy Director, Strategic Affairs, Defense Minister’s Office (1994-1996) and Assistant  Chief of Staff for International Relations (J5) (1996-1999). He retired from the military service in July 1999.

He was then seconded by the French government as the French representative and a professor (strategic issues and good governance) to the George C. Marshall Center (1999-2002), before joining DCAF as a senior fellow and deputy head Think Tank, (2002-2004). In addition to these assignments, he set up and headed a very dynamic and productive International Study Group on European Security within the Partnership for Peace  Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes (1999-2007)

After leaving Geneva in July 2004, he set up his own consulting company, “SPC” located in South West France, where he lives, and is currently consultant for DCAF and other agencies in France and in Europe.

He has widely published articles, chapters and proceedings in the military, strategic and national media and publications.

MG (ret) Alain Faupin is married, with 2 daughters and 7 grandchildren.